Social Theory and Practice 42 (1):32-56 (2016)

Hye-Ryoung Kang
University of Colorado, Boulder
Critical attention directed to John Rawls ’s ideal theory has in particular leveled three charges against it: first, its infeasibility; second, its inadequacy for providing normative guidance on actual injustices; and third, its insensitivity to the justice concerns of marginalized groups. Recently, advocates for Rawls ’s ideal theory have replied that problems arising at the stage of ideal theory can be addressed at the later stage of his nonideal theory. This article disputes that claim by arguing that although Rawls ’s nonideal theory provides a good answer to the infeasibility charge, it does not do so for the second and third charges. To argue for this thesis, I illustrate that nonideal theory in Rawls ’s Law of Peoples is unable to identify crucial injustices that emerge in the nonideal conditions of real world globalization.
Keywords Rawls’s ideal and nonideal theory  The Law of Peoples  Ideal theory  Non-ideal theory  Globalization
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